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Speak to most Employers and they will tell you that one of the most difficult issues they face is managing long-term absence through illness.
With stress and other mental health related issues topping the list as the most common causes of long-term sickness absence, Employers often find themselves struggling to navigate a minefield of employment law when attempting to manage long-term sickness absence and given the complexitiy of the Equality Act 2010 that's no real surprise.
In a report commissioned by the Government there has been a recommendation that independent panels should be appointed to decide whether or not employees on long-term sick are fit work.
Currently, Employers typically use a combination of GP reports and assessments by Independent Occupational Health Professionals to assess the fitness of employees and to determine what reasonable adjustments, if any, should be made to facilitate a return to work but Carol Black, the professor who led the review said the new system would take the responsibility away from GPs, who say they don't have enough time to do in-depth functional assessments and haven't had training in occupational health.
The DWP (Department of Work & Pensions) sponsored review suggested as many as one in five employees currently signed off sick by GPs could be reinstated.
The big question is what will the Government now do with the findings of this latest review?
Having already announced radical changes to UK Employment Law, not least the pushing out of the qualifying period for unfair dismissal from 12 to 24 months, it seems clear that Government's push to cut red tape for employers will continue but should the adopt the recommendation of this latest review, will this actually help Employers?
So what do you think? Should the Government move to implement the recommendation of this review or are there other steps that could be taken to help Employers manage long-term sickness absence?
Managing employee absence, long-term or persistent, often proves to be a very time consuming process for Employers and can often leave them exposed to grievances and/or costly Employment Tribunal claims if they get it wrong.
Have you got challenges with long-term and/or persistent staff absence? At EmployEasily HR we have extensive experience of helping Employers manage costly staff absence in a way that not only helps save them time and money, but also ensures they remain compliant with complex employment law.
Give us a call today on 0800 612 4772 or request a Free Quote via our website and find out how EmployEasily HR can help You prevent problems and protect your business.